Friday, February 28, 2014

Homeless to Hire A Housewife Video

This video was produced by our local Christian radio station just 18 months after I attended one of their events as a homeless and hopeless single mom of four.

I know it was just the beginning of what God has in store for us.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I know a lot about jerks

It's interesting to see the ways
that I often think similarly
about God and men.
Even more interesting to see lately
how often I am wrong about them both.

Two things happened yesterday;
one where I knew
the man I'm dating, (D)
was angry with me,
and where I knew
that the God who loves me
was angry with me.

In the former,
I was fixing my own van
and purposely did not ask for help.
I did what I could on my own
and eventually through several texts
and a phone call where it was determined
I didn't follow instructions properly
got a response to just stop
and he would come look at it.
I felt awful. I should be able
to do this without asking him
to go out of his way to help.
I don't want to need to be rescued.
I was afraid he was angry
and probably would help but
not want to come back over for dinner
because I messed up.

Last weekend, I felt God
call me to prayer and fasting
which I have never
seriously done before.
It was not an easy thing
for me to agree to,
but if God asks, how can I say no?
I was over 40 hours in
and had seen some evidence
that God was moving.
It was really amazing.
But I hadn't received any word
on how long this was supposed to last
and I was starting to get frustrated
with life... (DIY car repairs)
so I asked Him to tell me when it would end
and without waiting for an answer
I opened the fridge
and ate some leftovers.
I felt awful. I should be able
to do this without messing it up.
Good things were happening
and I was afraid God was angry
and was going to stop them
because I messed up.

D came over and helped me
finish fixing the brakes on the van.
He didn't act mad once,
and when we were done
he asked me what we were having for dinner.
He came back over later
and we all had a great time.
Before he left he told me
I had done a great job on the van.
I was confused. What!?!
How is that possible?
How can he be proud of me when I thought he would be angry?

Thinking about this after D left
as well as some other things
that had happened that evening
it occurred to me that even after
I had broken my fast,
the answers to my prayers
were still moving forward.
I was again, confused.
How could this be?
I had given up without His direction.
Is it possible that He too was proud of me for trying, instead of being angry?

A friend had pointed out to me
that, when in doubt, I will always assume
the man I'm with is going to be angry.
I thought I knew a lot about men.
Turns out, I only know a lot about jerks.

Where did I get the idea that God
gets angry when I make mistakes?
When did I decide that His goal
in watching us was to see
the mistakes and hand out punishments?
Somewhere along the way
I've let my knowledge of jerks
color my beliefs about God...

I don't think God is mad that broke the fast. I think He knew it would happen, and didn't tell me how long it would last because I needed to learn this lesson.

I know myself well enough to know I will likely need to learn it again and again, but in the mean time I can definitely come away from the entire experience knowing that good men don't react the way other men do, and God is so much better to me than I give Him credit for, even on a good day.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Already I'm hearing "whispers"
telling me I'm making this up
and that anyone who reads this
is just going to roll their eyes.
I know what I felt and saw
but those whispers
from the darkness
want to convince me
that I'm imagining things.

I stood in praise and worship
with my eyes closed and my hands
on the chair in front of me.
As I began to enter into worship,
a picture popped into my mind
       it could have meant something
       it could have meant nothing
I opened my eyes to see the lyrics
on the giant screen above the stage.
Eyes open, I continued singing along
while I thought about the scene.
That's when I felt it
pushing me backwards.
I felt like I was going to fall.
Oddly, it was a familiar feeling
I know that feeling from my days
at an Assemblies of God
but not here, those things don't happen at this church...
Not to say He doesn't show here,
but He comes in much more quietly.

I steadied my feet and
put my hands up in worship.
I kept waiting for someone else to feel
His presence the way I felt it.
Or for the pastor to continue the worship service
instead of starting his message.
I wanted to stay in that place.
But it was over.
What was that really?
I had no way of knowing.
As we sat, I closed my eyes
and thought of the picture
that had popped into my head before.
Immediately I felt the same wave
though much, much softer,
push at me again...
Okay, Lord, I get it.
It was You.

If that is what You want from me, I'll do it.

Learning to be respected

While my decision for celibacy
before marriage was made clear
from the very beginning,
actually sticking to those beliefs
has been more confusing
than I ever thought possible.
As he deliberately takes steps
to ensure that I not find myself
in compromising situations,
the neediness and selfishness
of the old me flare up.
I want to be desired, who doesn't?
So when he draws a line, a boundary,
I immediately feel hurt, and scared.
Why wouldn't he want this?
I know why, my mind says...
I am not __________ enough.
Fill it in. There are plenty of adjectives
that will work in that space.

I let him spend the night, one night.
Just sleeping. That's all.
I've written before
     about stupid things I've done
          to have an arm around me while I slept
So yesterday, in a display of respect,
when he told me it couldn't happen again
I was hurt, and angry, and confused.
Frustrated text messages flew
as we tried to figure out
what the other was really thinking.
     All I felt was rejection.
     All I felt was being pushed away.
     All I felt was loss of control of the situation.
I finally got him to concede,
to say he would stay again,
to tell me everything was fine...
I felt awful.
I could feel something stirring inside
telling me that I was wrong.
As I sat with that feeling
it suddenly occurred to me
that what I was seeing
might not be rejection at all.
This might be the most respectful thing
any man has ever done for me.
I've mentioned before how no man
has ever been willing to wait for me
for more than two weeks...
Here we are now, a month in
and he is standing his ground,
setting boundaries to protect me.
I didn't take it well,
but I'm working on it.
We talked more, came to the conclusion
that he was right, and I was not.
I don't know if he understands
why this is hard for me, but he will.
I don't know if he understands
how much I treasure his respect
now that I see it as such, but he will.

I'll be honest,
because that's what you do
in a blog about accountability... right?

I still want him to stay.

But what girl in her right mind could look at a man
who is trying to do what is best for both of them
and say, "Please respect me a little less."
How disrespectful of HIM would that be of me?

When you've never been respected before, learning to accept it is difficult. But when you finally see it for what it is, you will find that the ways it changes you, your feelings, and the relationship are worth the struggle it takes to understand.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. 
Matthew 7:12 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Not About Me

I have a prayer, Lord. A big one.
It is something only You can do.
I have personally felt how quickly
You are able to turn a life around.
Someone else needs it too.
You know how I feel already.
You know what I want.
But that doesn't mean that
any of this is about me.

Let me be Your hands and feet for him.
Let him see a peace in me
that can only come from You,
while you continue the healing
You've already begun.

Help me to remember
that You are my first love.
If this relationship continues
it is only to bring glory to you.
I can’t do that if I am fearing
every move I make while
dissecting his every breath.
Keep me from messing it all up...
You know I can if left to my own devices.

This is not about me. This is not about me. This is not about me.

Let him see You more and more
wherever he looks.
It doesn’t even have to be me
who lights the path,
just let it be someone.
Let it be soon.

To see the pain break off of him
is a bigger miracle than I can imagine
It seems impossible to have that happen
when what binds him is so big
and the time we have so short.
But what is time to You. Lord?
To watch it disappear,
see him become unbound,
see him become the man you already see… that’s my prayer.

Whether he stays or goes.
Whether he cares or does not.
Whether he someday loves or does not.

Those things don't matter.
I want to pray for them,
but selfish prayers cause anxiety I don't need.

He needs You in a deeper way
than he has ever experienced before.
He needs Your healing touch.
Help him to fall in love.
Help him to fall in love with You.

Big Prayers

God has answered
some big prayers for me,
huge answers that were
obviously only from Him.
Now I'm seeing something
coming in the future
something only He can handle
and I'm afraid...
             afraid to ask Him for it
             afraid to speak it out
             afraid to write it down
because, what if I am wrong?
I've very clearly felt
that this is something
I need to take seriously
but its harder than you think
even KNOWING what He can do.

I was having this conversation with myself
this morning, while driving to church
when someone on the radio hit the nail on the head.

She asked if I pray for things only God can do,
or if I pray for things that I already know
can happen in the natural world.
She suggested that her own hesitation
in praying for things that can only be Him
is her difficulty with giving up control.
Control issues? Me? Surely I don't have...
okay, we all know I have some control issues.

Funny how I overslept,
ran behind this morning,
and turned the radio on
just in time to hear this.
You'd almost think
there is a God up there
listening to me
and using whoever He can
to get His message across
when I'm too absorbed with myself
too hear what He is saying.

Asking God to make the impossible happen
means believing it could happen
and setting myself up for a huge fall if it doesn't.
But if He keeps telling me
to take this matter seriously
and to pray, then I have to believe
He has a plan.

Trust. That's what He wants.
Trust that He thinks we are precious.
Trust that His plans aren't to harm. 
Trust that if He tells me to trust and to pray,
         that's what He wants...
  and that trying to control the situation
                is only going to continue to cause pain and anxiety.


But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:1-7

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The apple hanging in that tree
in the middle of The Garden was
the perfect shade of the perfect color.
Just a look at it and she knew
it was going to be delicious.
The biggest, unblemished,
juiciest apple,
to ever ruin a life... 
she ignored that last line.

She was warned.
We have been too.

You know you aren't
supposed to eat the apple.
You know you shouldn't
even think about it.
You know you shouldn't
reach out towards it.
You know you shouldn't
see how close you can stand to it
without actually breaking the rules.

But we still do. Why?
Because it is just so perfect,
exactly what we think we want.

Perfect is subjective, isn't it?

Everybody's perfect apple
is a different shade, texture, flavor.
Hung in the spot on the tree that
puts it directly in their eye line.
We don't stop to wonder
how exactly it got there,
to just that spot where
we don't have to reach too high
or why the lights hit it just so
to give it that enticing shine.

The enemy knows
whether you like Red Delicious
or Granny Smith or Fuji apples.
He knows you've been told
to stay away from them
but enjoys reminding you
how much you used to love your apples. 

Drugs, alcohol, sex, porn,
rage, food, greed, lies, laziness
all dangling apples
all right within reach.
They seem to be the perfect shade
of the perfect color, of the best kind.
Just a look at it and you know
it is going to be delicious.

The biggest, unblemished,
juiciest apples,
to ever ruin a life...
Don't ignore that last line.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spiral Staircase

I remember in college,
learning how to teach
math to children.
Someone said,
"Teaching math
is like walking up
a spiral staircase.
It may seem that you are
repeating yourself
again and again,
even to the students,
but with each lesson
you are actually working
at slightly higher level
than you were last time."

What a life lesson that was
and I didn't even see it then.

How many times
have I conquered something,
taken a deep breath,
prepared to enjoy
the hard-earned victory,
only to completely forget
the triumph
and fall apart
when I realize that
I'm still in the battle,
just at a slightly higher level
than I was before?

I've even asked Him
why I fight the same battles
over and over,
not noting the significance
of the details
and the differences
of each battle.  

Other times
I've wanted to see
around the curve
of the spiral staircase.
It is always better
to know what is coming, right?
Why won't He tell me?
But I think back
to that math class and wonder,
would a good teacher
who loves her students
and wants them to grow
at their own steady pace
look at the little girl
proud of herself
for learning her
multiplication tables
and hand her a book
of college level algebra?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stop, look, listen

The easiest way for the enemy
to get you to believe the lies
he whispers from the darkness
is to get you alone and isolated.

I love being around people
and yet I would still begin
isolating myself from others
when life got overwhelming.

When you think you are sitting alone
with only the thoughts in your head
the lies sound like your own voice
and you believe them,
not realizing their origin.

You begin to believe a lot of bad things
and you can usually find "facts"
to back the beliefs up.
You don't want it to be true
but you can't see how it isn't.
You want someone to believe in you
but you can't let yourself hope anyone will.

I've been in that place where
I desperately wanted someone
to believe I was worth fighting for
even though I didn't believe it for myself.
That's when I started asking God
to show me that He was fighting for me.

How many times,
in the middle of my own pain
did I tell God that I needed
to see Him fight for me?
How many times
did He fight for me
in a way I didn't expect,
leaving me struggling against Him,
until I finally realized
He was just answering my own prayer?

I'm not in that place today
although I can't say with certainty
that I never will be again.
So there is a chance
I am writing this
for my future self.

I can say with certainty
that I know other people are in that place
and if you are one of those people
then you need to know
God is fighting for YOU.

He is listening to your cries
He is showing you grace time and again
He is letting "luck" take the credit
He is putting people in your path
He is sharing messages of hope
He is shouting more loudly than all the whispers you hear from the darkness...
All you have to do is stop, look, and listen.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you 
against your enemies to give you victory.
Deuteronomy 20:4

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3